Know before you go
Parking informationParking available at entrance
There are numerous pathways throughout the wood, including the 3-km Rippengal's Walk, named for Robert Rippengal, an archaeologist by training. Robert was the founder and director of a Cambridge-based company selling wood-fuelled renewable heating systems. He enjoyed walking in the woods and was inspired by the Trust’s Vision of expanding and joining its woodlands. After he died tragically while walking in the mountains, his friends and family felt that supporting the Trust’s woodland work was a fitting memorial.
Wide level main rides. Some minor paths are rough. All can be very wet and muddy in winter and spring, especially during bluebell season.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitspring and autumn
About the reserve
This site has been woodland for at least a thousand years, and the character and diversity of wonderful wildlife here reflects it.
For centuries, the wood has been important to the local community as a valuable source of building materials and firewood. We continue to carry out traditional coppicing, supplying thatching materials, stakes for hedgelaying and even beanpoles in Gamlingay to this day. The wood is primarily oak, ash and field maple, with an understorey of hazel and hawthorn.
In parts of the wood, conifers were planted after the Second World War; we are gradually removing these. Due to the different soil types throughout the wood, the flora here is very diverse. On sandier soils there are bracken, primroses and foxgloves, whereas on the clay soils, bluebells, oxlips and wood anemones thrive.
Myriad insects live in the wood, including speckled wood and purple hairstreak butterflies, longhorn beetles and several species of dragonfly. Along the grassy rides and paths, clouds of butterflies rise up from the flowers, then, as dusk gathers, bats hawk along the rides to take advantage of the abundance of moths. Birds are active year-round, whether trilling warblers, tapping woodpeckers or hooting owls.
Nearby Sugley Wood is former arable land purchased by the Trust in 2002. Slowly reverting to woodland, it is already home to many mammals, while farmland birds such as yellowhammer and skylark fly overhead. In the evening, barn owls hunt silently.
We mow the rides and paths and coppice along the edges to allow more light for flowers and butterflies. Sections of the wood are fenced to prevent deer damage. There is a volunteer work party at this reserve. See the work party page for more information.
Gamlingay Wood is part of the West Cambridgeshire Hundreds Living Landscape.